Can you give us an overview of theprimary work you do at Texas Cowboy Outfitters?
“I’m involved a wide range of workincluding the complete restoration of horse drawn equipment. I also repair a fair number of wagon wheels andbuild new wheels. The most common vehicles I work on are chuck wagons. It’s notunusual for a wagon to be missing some hardware like brake handles and othermetal work. My experience as ablacksmith allows me to reproduce parts in a manner consistent with theoriginal design.”
You’ve been doing this for some time now. How did you get started?
“Fresh out of college I had a job asa cattle inspector. I saw a lot of wagons going to ruin so I started collectingthem. This was about 1971. I tinkered with them for years and then made it afull time business about 1995.”During all that time you’ve been involved witha number of vehicle projects. Which onesdo you consider to be the most significant?
“I guess the most significantaccomplishments I’ve had the privilege of being a part of are the restorations fordifferent museums. Last year, I restored a Newton brand wagon into an 1880’strail wagon with all the items needed to go up the trail. This was for the ChisholmTrail Heritage Museum in Cuero Texas. I did a chuck wagon and a Chihuahua two-wheeledfreight cart for the Museum of the Big Bend, Alpine Texas. Another interestingproject was a Prairie schooner scene for the Harrison County Museum in Marshall,Texas.”
What's the most memorable vehicle that you've beeninvolved with?
“Most projects are memorable at thetime. The Chihuahua cart was a challenge. I actually felled the cottonwoodtrees and hand-hewed the parts to fit. Another interesting set of wheels was a chuck wagonthat went to Australia. It had roller bearings in wooden hubs. All of the wood had to be new for it to clearcustoms in Australia.”
What are some of the things you’re working onnow?
“I'm restoring a Springfield wagonright now. I also have an assortment ofwheels I’m repairing and other blacksmithing jobs, including one where I’mmaking the chain for an old drag shoe. When I’m finished with the Springfield,it will have new rear wheels as well as a new bed, seat, chuck box, and oven boot.Next in line is a Weber brand wagon that will also be made into a chuck wagon.”
Of all the old makers, is there one brand thatyou tend to gravitate toward?
“My favorite wagon is an Owensborosince I've had one for 42 years. It wasoriginally a Texas Edition Cotton wagon. I’m also partial to Peter Schuttler wagons.”
Just one more question and we’ll let you getback to work… What is it that you enjoymost about the work you do?
“You meet a lot of nice people inthis business. It’s rewarding seeing something you built being preserved in amuseum. I enjoy working with wood and metal. Working on wagons allows me to do both. The November 2013 issue of Western Horseman magazinehas an article about my work as well.”
Thanks to Glenn and Patty Morelandfor their time and assistance with this interview. You can learn more about their work byvisiting their website at www.texcowboy.com Next week, we’ll take a brief break from theinterviews and share a few details related to a rare set of wheels in the Wheels That Won The West® vehicle collection.
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